FOUR Organisations in Malaita Province have received grants under the Forest Development Fund (FDF) under the USAID Strengthening Competitiveness Agriculture Livelihood and Environment – Natural Resource Management (SCALE-NRM) Project.
They are Afutara Rural Training Centre (RTC), Airahu Rural Training Centre (RTC), Takataka Eco Village Conservation Foundation and Ahataha Water Conservation Association (AWCA) received their grants on Thursday last week.
According to SCALE-NRM, the overall objective of the FDF is to catalyse community and private sector-led engagements in improving the economic benefits to households derived from sustainable natural source management and biodiversity conservation efforts.
The US Government Mission to Solomon Islands Resident Charge d’ Affairs, Russel Comeau said this is the first four of the 24 planned forest development Fund grants.
“Today (Thursday) we are announcing the first four of 24 planned forest development Fund grants.”
“Two grants for Rural Training Centers to provide staff and students with the nursery skill, knowledge, and capacity to continue producing seedlings to supply community-based reforestation and forest rehabilitation.
“Both grantees will be supported in creating profitable enterprises for selling their seedlings to communities seeking to rehabilitate their land.”
Afutara RTC and Airahu RTC received SBD$45,853 and SBD$45,185 respectively.
“Two grants to community groups aspiring to build sustainable incomes with their protected areas; Taka Village Conservation Foundation in East Are’Are.”
“The grant will support the completion of forest inventory and household survey as part of the broader strategy to develop a Payment for Ecosystems Services site,” Mr Comeau said.
Taka Conservation Foundation received SBD87,532.
Ahetaha Water Conservation Association in East Are’Are received SBD196,120.
“The grant will support training for women and girls to manage and operate the newly established Ahetaha eco-loge.”
“It will also support Training for community members on the importance and benefits of forest and environmental conservation and training on tools for tribal and community collaboration for successful forest conservation.”
“This community is seeking to protect their 259 hectares of land for future generations by establishing a legally protected area.”
“SCALE-NRM launched the first round of the FDF in March 2022, and visited Auki, Atori, Malu’u and Afio, connecting with nearly 100 different local organizations, all of which expressed interest in applying for grants to jumpstart new, sustainable agroforestry enterprise or to support expansion of existing business.”
“Initial FDF awards will provide technical and financial support to community driven reforestation efforts, establish Payment for Ecosystem Service (PES) schemes and expand alternative livelihood opportunities to logging,” the US Mission to Solomon Islands Charge d’ Affaires said.
Other 20 approved planned forest development Fund grants will be distributed soon as the US SCALE-NRM is rolling out smoothly in Malaita Province.
By WILSON SAENI in Auki